Loading
Extremist Muslims Suspected
Prominent Christian murdered in Gaza

.- The small Christian community in the Gaza Strip has been shocked and frightened by the murder of a prominent Palestinian Christian, the Associated Press reports.

Rami Khader Ayyad, 32, was found dead with a gunshot wound in his head and numerous stab wounds in his body.  Ayyad was the director of Gaza's only Christian bookstore and had been the target of death threats and an arson attack.  The threats accused him of conducting missionary work, a rare activity for Gaza's Christians.

He leaves behind two children and his pregnant wife.

On Friday, Ayyad reported that he was being followed by a car with no license plates.  He called his family Saturday afternoon to tell them he had been abducted but would be freed later in the evening.  Police were notified, but his body was found the next morning.

Reaction to his death focused on Ayyad's deep faith.

"He paid his life for his faith, for his dignity, and the dignity of the Bible and Jesus Christ," said Issa, a 24-year-old Christian who came to pay his respects at Ayyad's home. "I am terrified and cannot believe this has happened in Gaza," said Issa, declining to give his last name because of the tense atmosphere.

"We feel Rami was killed for his Christian faith," said Simon Azazian, a spokesman at the Palestinian Bible Society's head office in Jerusalem.  Ayyad's bookstore was associated with the Bible Society, a Protestant group.

Vatican Radio reports that the director of the Holy See's press office, Father Frederico Lombardi, SJ, condemned the event:  "The murder of a member of the Baptist Christian community in Gaza is terrible news, and if suspicions are true the incident may be one of grave religious intolerance on the part of Muslim extremists."

Others avoided making accusations.   Hussam Tawil, a Palestinian lawmaker who represents Gaza's Christians, said "It's too early to talk about the motive of this crime, which might be dangerous."

Hamas, which in June took control of the Gaza Strip from the secular Fatah movement, is not above suspicion in the violence.  It has vehemently denied involvement.

Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Gaza's Hamas government, expressed "great sadness" over Ayyad's death and said he ordered an investigation.  He also voiced support for peace: "I stress the strong relations between Christians and Muslims in the Palestinian arena," he said. "We are part of the same nation ... and we are not going to allow anyone to sabotage this historical relationship."

After such violence many Gaza Christians may try to leave their homeland.  There are 3,200 Christians living in Gaza among its 1.4 million Muslims.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
20

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014

EASTER SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Gospel
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Homily
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: